Lawrence J. Zweifach is a litigation partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s New York office. Mr. Zweifach is a nationally recognized trial lawyer and a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has extensive experience handling civil and criminal matters, including securities, antitrust, SEC, PCAOB, and CFTC enforcement investigations and litigation, corporate governance, internal investigations, white collar criminal defense, and complex commercial litigation. He regularly defends parallel proceedings that include shareholder class actions, derivative lawsuits, regulatory investigations, state attorney general investigations and federal grand jury investigations.
Mr. Zweifach has tried cases involving a wide variety of areas, including securities, accounting, auditing, RICO, mail and wire fraud, tax and bankruptcy, as well as contract, corporate control and partnership disputes. His experience includes numerous high-profile criminal cases that he tried during his nine years as a federal prosecutor at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, where he was Chief of the Criminal Division. He has represented a broad spectrum of clients, including public and private corporations, public accounting firms, investment banks, boards of directors, special committees, audit committees, corporate officers and directors, banks, investment advisors, hedge funds, mutual funds and broker-dealers.
Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business ranked Mr. Zweifach among the top Securities Enforcement lawyers in the country and among New York’s leading Securities Litigators. In addition, Mr. Zweifach has been recognized in Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers, The Legal 500, The International Who’s Who of Business Crime Defense Lawyers and The International Who’s Who of Investigations Lawyers & Forensic Experts. He is also a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honor society, and a recipient of the New York City Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award for his pro bono defense of capital cases.
The following matters are representative of Mr. Zweifach’s broad litigation practice:
- Represents UBS AG in Multi-District Litigation involving the alleged manipulation of LIBOR and other interest rate benchmarks.
- Trial counsel for Visa U.S.A. in a nationwide federal antitrust class action brought on behalf of all retail merchants that accept Visa cards, alleging that Visa illegally tied acceptance of Visa debit cards to acceptance of Visa credit cards. At the time of the litigation, the case was the largest private treble damage action in U.S. history.
- Successfully defended Ernst & Young LLP in class actions and related proceedings arising from the so-called “Madoff Scandal.”
- Achieved favorable settlements for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (Canada) in securities class actions brought by shareholders and bondholders of Laidlaw Inc.
- Represents a former audit partner of a Big Four firm at trial of enforcement action brought by the PCAOB.
- Persuaded the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the dismissal of a securities class action against UBS and its affiliates involving a $2.5 billion offering of mortgage-backed securities.
- Trial counsel for Moody’s in action brought by institutional investors alleging that it published fraudulent ratings of notes issued by a structured investment vehicle.
- Achieved dismissal of MBS class action against the CEO, CFO and former Chief Risk Officer of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (“CIBC”), as well as the former Chairman and CEO of CIBC World Markets, alleging that they and the bank fraudulently misled investors regarding the bank’s exposure to subprime sectors of the U.S. real estate market.
- Defending UBS AG, Deutsche Bank AG and Royal Bank of Scotland in MBS litigation in federal and state courts.
White Collar and SEC Enforcement Litigation
- Represented UBS AG in the resolution of investigations involving the alleged manipulation of LIBOR and other interest rate benchmarks that were conducted by numerous domestic and foreign law enforcement, competition, and regulatory authorities.
- Represents a global financial institution in investigations being conducted by federal and state prosecutors who are members of the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group.
- Served as Special Counsel to the Independent Committee of The Starr Foundation and assisted the committee in conducting an investigation of the issues raised in a report issued by former New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, in which it was alleged that Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg and other board members of The Starr Foundation breached their fiduciary duties.
- Represented former CFO of Scientific Atlanta, Inc. in SEC enforcement proceedings arising out of business transactions between Scientific Atlanta and Adelphia Communications Corporation.
Mr. Zweifach is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of George Washington University Law School. He also is President of the Greater New York Regional Board of the American Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Over the years, Mr. Zweifach has been actively involved in bar association activities. He is currently a member of the Committee on White Collar Criminal Defense and the In-House/Outside Litigation Counsel Group of the New York City Bar Association.
Mr. Zweifach is a former law clerk to the Honorable Harold A. Stevens of the New York State Court of Appeals and to the Honorable Henry Bramwell of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He also was the Chair of the Litigation Department of Heller Ehrman’s New York office. He received his Juris Doctor cum laude from George Washington University Law School in 1973, where he was the articles editor of The Journal of International Law and Economics. He received his Bachelor's degree magna cum laude from Lehigh University in 1969.
Mr. Zweifach regularly lectures and participates in panel discussions before various professional organizations, has written numerous publications, and teaches CLE courses on a wide variety of subjects. He is Chair of the New York City Bar’s Second Annual Securities Litigation and Enforcement Institute. He has taught trial advocacy courses for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the American Law Institute-American Bar Association, the U.S. Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute, PLI, the New York City Bar, and numerous law schools.
Mr. Zweifach is admitted to practice in the State of New York, and before the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Second, Third and Tenth Circuits, the U.S. Tax Court, and the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, Western and Northern Districts of New York.